Egypt's ousted Islamist leader Morsi sentenced to death over prison break during 2011 uprising



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CAIRO (AP) — An Egyptian court has sentenced the country's first freely elected leader to death.

Ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was convicted over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that eventually brought him to power.

The ruling also applies to 120 other people. It is the latest in a series of mass death sentences handed down since the military overthrew Morsi nearly two years ago.

As is customary in capital punishment cases in Egypt, the judge referred the sentences to the nation's top Muslim cleric for his non-binding opinion.

Egypt's judiciary has come under mounting international criticism since Morsi's ouster as it has handed down harsh mass sentences to Islamists and jailed secular activists for protesting. At the same time, the courts have acquitted or handed light sentences to top officials who served under President Hosni Mubarak, whose nearly 30-year reign was ended by the 2011 Arab Spring-inspired uprising.

In what appears to be the first violent response to today's ruling, security officials say suspected Islamic militants gunned down three judges and their driver in the northern Sinai Peninsula city of al-Arish.

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132-c-05-(Merrit Kennedy, AP correspondent)-"charges are politicized"-AP correspondent Merrit Kennedy reports the death sentence for ousted President Mohammed Morsi will be seen by some as politically-motivated. (16 May 2015)

<<CUT *132 (05/16/15)££ 00:05 "charges are politicized"

130-c-12-(Merrit Kennedy, AP correspondent)-"of the police"-AP correspondent Merrit Kennedy reports that the Egyptian judiciary has condemned former Islamic Brotherhood party leader Mohammed Morsi to death over 2011 activities. (16 May 2015)

<<CUT *130 (05/16/15)££ 00:12 "of the police"

131-c-16-(Merrit Kennedy, AP correspondent)-"in December 2012"-AP correspondent Merrit Kennedy reports that it's customary in Egyptian law that, when passing capital punishment, the sentence must be referred to the nation's top Muslim theologian, or mufti. (16 May 2015)

<<CUT *131 (05/16/15)££ 00:16 "in December 2012"

APPHOTO CAIBS103: Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi to death over his part in a mass prison break that took place during the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO CAIBS103 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO CAITH106: Egyptian defendants including Mohammed Beltagi, center left, a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, hold hands in unity and make a four-fingered gesture referring to the 2013 killing of Muslim Brotherhood protesters at the Rabaah Al-Adawiya mosque, in a makeshift courtroom at the national police academy, eastern Cairo, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. An Egyptian court on Saturday sentenced ousted President Mohammed Morsi and over 100 others to death including Beltagi. (AP Photo/Ahmed Omar) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO CAITH106 (05/16/15)££

APPHOTO CAITH116: EDS NOTE GRAPHIC CONTENT - The body of a judge is removed from the scene of an attack on a vehicle in El Arish, north Sinai, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. In what appears to be the first violent response to the death sentence of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, suspected Islamic militants in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula gunned down a driver and three judges, including this one, who were not involved in the Morsi ruling. Morsi was sentenced to death over a mass prison break during the 2011 uprising that eventually brought him to power. The ruling applies to another 120 people, and is the latest in a series of mass death sentences handed down since the military overthrew Morsi nearly two years ago. (AP Photo/Muhamed Sabry) (16 May 2015)

<<APPHOTO CAITH116 (05/16/15)££

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